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Christmas on the Coast 2018

22-29 December 2018

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Double or twin share $2,850.00

Single Accommodation $3,490.00

Deposit to confirm booking $400.00

Balance payable by: 07 Nov 2018
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An early start from all destinations this morning as we are transferred to Wellington Airport where our Christmas adventure begins with a mid-morning flight to Christchurch.  Our coach and driver await us at Christchurch airport to whisk us off to Mona Vale Garden where we enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds of this gracious historic property with a chance to wander and enjoy the gardens.  We then make our way into the city to discover some of the main landmarks of Christchurch, including a stop to view the Transitional Cathedral, affectionately known as the “Cardboard Cathedral”.  The Cathedral uses various construction materials from cardboard tubes to timber beams, steel and concrete, and its feature triangular window design incorporates images from the original Cathedral's rose window.  Finally we check in to our accommodation, with time to settle in before we dine in tonight.

Day 1

Saturday 22 December - Flying to Christchurch

An early start from all destinations this morning as we are transferred to Wellington Airport where our Christmas adventure begins with a mid-morning flight to Christchurch.

Our coach and driver await us at Christchurch airport to whisk us off to Mona Vale Garden where we enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds of this gracious historic property with a chance to wander and enjoy the gardens. We then make our way into the city to discover some of the main landmarks of Christchurch, including a stop to view the Transitional Cathedral, affectionately known as the “Cardboard Cathedral”. The Cathedral uses various construction materials from cardboard tubes to timber beams, steel and concrete, and its feature triangular window design incorporates images from the original Cathedral's rose window. Finally, we check in to our accommodation, with time to settle in before we dine in tonight.

Day 2

Sunday 23 December - Christchurch to Ohau

Travelling south today we stop for a cuppa at Ashburton, with our lunch stop in Geraldine (own expense), home of the famous Barkers preserves.

This afternoon we travel the Geraldine-Fairlie highway, over historic Burkes Pass and into the Mackenzie basin, stopping to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Statue of the Working Dog on the shores of Lake Tekapo. If the day allows we will also stop at the bottom of Lake Pukaki to enjoy the iconic view of Mt Cook from across the vivid blue lake, before taking a scenic detour along the Pukaki-Ohau canal, an interesting alternative route.

Our destination today is Lake Ohau Lodge in the heart of the Mackenzie. Cradled between the Ohau Range to the west and the Ben Ohau range to the east, Ohau Lodge boasts great food, a cosy atmosphere and panoramic views of Lake Ohau. This is a very special spot, and you will love the scenic setting, the tranquility and the first-rate hospitality.

Day 3

Monday 24 December - Ohau to Haast

We head for the West Coast today, travelling over the Lindis Pass before skirting the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.

Our lunch stop is at the Makarora Country Café (own expense), before making our way over the Haast Pass, with stops at scenic locations enroute, including Thunder Falls and the spectacular Gates of Haast.

At Roaring Billy Falls we join Haast River Safaris for a special river cruise in this vast remote valley. A fully enclosed jet boat will allow us to remain dry and comfortable whatever the weather, as we journey down river through this stunning wilderness. Rejoining our coach at Haast we have time to explore our surroundings - a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches, in one of NZ’s most isolated locations. If time permits we visit the DOC World Heritage Visitor Centre, which provides excellent interpretation and displays. Checking in to our hotel, we enjoy in house dining again this evening.

Day 4

Tuesday 25 December - Haast to Fox Glacier

With a festive picnic on board we set off on our travels up the coast today.

Our day is all about relaxed travel, stunning scenery, and enjoying Christmas with our Tranzit friends. We will stop at many points of interest including Ship Creek, a languid stream stained the colour of tea by the dense rainforest through which it flows; Lake Paringa surrounded by lowland forest, and Knights Point providing magnificent coastal views. One of these spectacular spots will be our lunch stop today…but don’t forget the industrial strength insect repellent!! Our destination is the twin glacier town of Fox, in the heart of Glacier Country. Making our way to our hotel, we have time after checking in to relax and put the feet up before gathering together in the hotel restaurant to pop the corks and enjoy a celebratory dinner with all the trimmings.

Day 5

Wednesday 26 December - Lake Matheson/Gillespies Beach/Fox

Today we take advantage of a full day in Fox to explore its natural charms.

Departing our hotel for Gillespie's Beach we will have the chance to wander and explore, learning the history of the area and enjoying the freedom of walking on a wild west coast beach. Lake Matheson is our next stop, a lake famous for its amazing reflections. After lunch at Matheson Café (included) we can enjoy a walk around the shores of the lake, providing stunning views no matter what the mood of the lake along with a browse of ReflectioNZ Gallery, an art and craft gallery featuring quality NZ products. This afternoon we visit the Fox Glacier, where we can enjoy another leg stretch to view the glacier terminal. For those who have done enough walking today, a browse in the village, a scenic heli-flight (own cost) or time to relax back at our hotel may be preferred. We dine in again this evening.

Day 6

Thursday 27 December - Fox to Greymouth

We are on the road in good time this morning to continue our travels up the West Coast,

more of the unparalleled beauty of this region unfolding– dense rainforest reflected in tranquil lakes, rugged coastline, and roaring rivers, with the soaring Southern Alps a constant backdrop. Our first stop is Franz Josef, the second of the famous twin glaciers, where there are several excellent short walks to view the glacier. Lunch today is at the Westcoast Treetop Café (included), where a fabulous must-do attraction also awaits us - the Mahinapua Treetop Walk. This walk allows us to safely stroll amongst the canopy of magnificent lowland West Coast rainforest, with glimpses of picturesque Lake Mahinapua. The more adventurous can climb the Hokitika Tower to gain sensational vistas of the snow capped Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, or sway gently in harmony with the forest on a cantilever. Our destination today is Greymouth, our hotel on the banks of the Grey River, where we dine in tonight.

Day 7

Friday 28 December - Punakaiki and Blackball

More ever changing West Coast scenery is on the agenda today as we enjoy a day outing north to Punakaiki.

Wild beaches, towering bluffs, sea caves and unique rock formations are fringed by coastal forest and subtropical nikau. We stop at Fox River to discover a magnificent sea cave and take a stroll across the historic Fox River bridge, while at Punakaiki we explore the Punakaiki Blowholes and “Pancake” Rocks, this geological wonder some 30 million years old. We enjoy lunch here today with several cafes to choose from (own expense), with time also to browse the excellent gift and craft shops nearby. Travelling back towards Greymouth, we take a detour up the left bank of the Grey River to the historic Brunner Mine. This was New Zealand’s most productive 19th Century coalmine and the site of the country’s worst mining disaster. A wander around the site will bring alive its history. Continuing up river we find the little mining village of Blackball, once a hot bed of unionism in New Zealand and the birthplace of the Labour Party, today a quiet coal mining town, rich in history. The story of Blackball is told at the Blackball Museum of Working Class History - a superb little open-air museum, also featuring a special tribute to the Pike River miners. Next door is the famous “Formerly the Blackball Hilton” Hotel where we dine this evening - West Coast hospitality at its best assured.

Day 8

Saturday 29 December - Travelling Home

An early start this morning as we make our way to Picton, the Buller and Wairau Rivers mapping our journey for us, with a short stop at Murchison to break up our journey.

Lunch today is in Picton (own expense) prior to departing on our afternoon sailing returning us to Wellington. Finally we bid our fellow travellers goodbye before being transferred to our home locations.

The cost of the tour includes

  • All coach travel
  • One-way Interisland Ferry transfer
  • One-way Air New Zealand flight to Christchurch
  • Good quality hotel accommodation
  • 2 course or buffet evening meals
  • Picnic lunch day 1
  • Christmas day picnic lunch
  • Christmas Dinner
  • Lunch at Lake Matheson Café
  • Haast River Safari Boat Cruise
  • Lunch and entry to West Coast Tree Top walk

Departure Detail

My Fiancé and I both enjoyed the wine tour. I can't wait to do it again with friends! - Liz Black